Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PIAA District XII

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

The last installment of our eighteen district preview articles brings us to the Philadelphia Catholic League and Philadelphia Public League. Each article includes a list of top prospects from amongst the cohort of schools, as well as write-ups of a number of teams in the cohort. To view all district previews in one place, please visit our District Previews 2015 page.

We have received inquiries regarding how we decide which teams to detail. A team having or not having its own paragraph in the article is less an indication of what type of season we expect it to have and more a function of how much information we are able to compile. For example, if we have not seen a team in person (there are over 600 baseball-playing high schools in the state), stats are not available on-line, and a school district spam filter gobbled up our e-mails to the coach that contained the questionnaire, we might not have enough information to write a full paragraph on that school.

PIAA District XII Top Prospects

Given that there are a number of individuals below who have not yet played a varsity game (and might not this season), this appears to be as good a time as any to remind our readers that this is a list of "top prospects," not necessarily a list of the players who we expect to perform the best on the varsity level this season. Present ability, athleticism, tools, and future projection are taken into consideration when considering "prospect" status.

Dan HammerNick D'AmoreEric PetroskiLou Testa

1. Patrick Doudican, 2015, LHP, Neumann-Goretti (College of Charleston)
2. Joe Lancellotti, 2017, OF/RHP, Archbishop Wood (North Carolina)
3. Andrew Cossetti, 2018, C/3B, La Salle
4. Jimmy Herron, 2015, OF, La Salle (Duke)
5. Dan Hammer, 2016, RHP, Father Judge (Pitt)
6. Matt McKeown, 2015, 3B, Neumann-Goretti (Delaware)
7. Ethan Pritchett, 2016, RHP, Neumann-Goretti
8. Joe Miller, 2018, LHP/OF, La Salle
9. Nick D'Amore, 2016, 3B, Neumann-Goretti
10. Jeff Manto, 2017, 3B, Conwell-Egan Catholic
11. Joe LaFiora, 2018, LHP, Neumann-Goretti
12. Jack Pogyor, 2017, C, La Salle
13. Eric Petroski, 2015, 3B/RHP, Father Judge
14. Lou Testa, 2016, 1B, Neumann-Goretti
15. Richie Tecco, 2015, IF, Bonner-Prendergast (Rider)

Philadelphia Catholic League

The Catholic League will have a new look this season.  Gone are the Red (AAAA) and Blue (AA & AAA) divisions, as each team will now play a single game against all the other teams in the league.

Class AA
Brian VerrattiDespite the graduation of Josh Ockimey, who signed with the Boston Red Sox as a fifth round pick in te MLB First-Year Player Draft, defending PCL tournament champ and state semifinalist Neumann-Goretti might actually be better this year than last. College-bounds including catcher Tommy Nardini (Gwynedd Mercy), 1st-team PCL Blue utilityman Bay To (Fairleigh Dickinson), 1st-team shortstop Justin Curtin (Gwynedd Mercy), second baseman Vinny Vaccone (Mercer CC), and Doudican are joined as returning starters by D'Amore and junior outfielder Brian Verratti (right). McKeown and Testa are two powerful transfers who will slot into the middle of the order. Keep an eye on the talented LaFiora, who could have an opportunity to make an impact sooner rather than later as a rookie. PCL Blue Pitcher of the Year Doudican (59.2 IP, 83 K) and Pritchett (40.1 IP, 46 K) will front the rotation, with Gwynedd Mercy-bound RHP Gino Tripodi sliding into the third starter role. D'Amore, To, and McKeown all have mid-80s arm strength coming out of coach Kevin Schneider's bullpen.

Conwell-Egan Catholic will feature a very young line-up, led by left-handed hitting Manto (.398 AVG), junior shortstop Ameir Uzzell, sophomore Matt Costanzo, and freshman infielder Brian Nicolas. Coach Mike Gossner will role out a trio of juniors on his staff -- Billy Meyer, PCL Blue 2nd-team selection Jarrett Patman, and Joe DeLong -- in addition to senior Cole Ingelido.

Class AAA
Joe LancellottiArchbishop Wood returns most of the key pieces that spurred its run to the state tournament last spring. Lancellotti (25.1 IP, 25 H, 14 BB, 28 K) and junior RHP Anthony Russo (37.1 IP, 26 H, 13 BB, 44 K) will form the 1-2 punch atop the rotation, with sophomore RHPs Sean Hughes and Cody Kracknell, plus senior RHPs Eric Dyke and Justin Rubin (who missed 2014 due to injury) jockeying for innings behind them. Coach Jim DiGuiseppe, Jr. welcomes back two-thirds of his starting line-up, including PCL Blue 1st-team honoree Lancellotti (.453 AVG; right), Kutztown-bound 1st-team catcher Nick Lafferty (.328 AVG, 9 BB vs 7 K), junior second baseman Matt Cummiskey (.345 AVG), who earned 2nd-team recognition at 1B last season, senior third baseman Austin Hill (.368 AVG, 7 BB vs 6 K), senior shortstop Tom Rosenbaum (.314 AVG, 10 BB vs 4 K), and senior outfielder Anthony Zupito (.327 AVG).

Ryan McSorleyFollowing the graduation of twelve from last year's roster, Lansdale Catholic will feature a young team this spring. A trio of juniors -- LHP Ryan Logan, and RHPs Ryan Quigley and Nick Smalley -- will join senior RHP P.J. Guippone in logging innings for coach Dave Scott. Senior outfielder Kyle Diseroad and sophomore third baseman Ryan McSorley (left) will spark a Crusaders offense that could also get contributions from the three juniors mentioned above, plus their classmate James Scarcelli and sophomore Mike Ottomano.

Steve FurmanBonner-Prendergast will count on a senior-laden team to make a push back to the state tournament after a one-year hiatus. PCL Blue 1st-team honoree Tecco (.371 AVG, .459 OBP, 11 BB vs 9 K), junior catcher Steve Furman (.389 AVG, .477 OBP; right), senior second baseman Danny Goggin (.318 AVG, .444 OBP, 10 BB vs 5 K), and senior OF/3B Nick Lazer (.396 AVG, .460 OBP), a 2nd-team selection at DH, are back to power the offense. After missing last season due to labrum surgery, Cumberland County-bound outfielder Paul Curran returns just as it is learned that junior outfielder Ryan George will miss this season with his own labrum injury. Coach Joe DeBarberie's pitching staff will be fronted by experienced senior RHPs Nick Bralczyk and Goggin, along with junior RHP Anthony Martinelli.

Other schools and returning all-conference selections
Archbishop Carroll - junior IF Tom Sparacino & senior C J.T. Evangelist (Blue 2nd-team)
Cardinal O'Hara - senior DH Chris Salvey (Red 1st-team), senior IF Colin McGuire (Red 2nd-team)

Class AAAA
Langston LivingstonWith the retirement of legendary coach Joe Parisi following La Salle's second state championship in three seasons, first-year coach Kyle Werman has some large shoes to fill. A quartet of seniors -- PCL Red 1st-team selection Herron, shortstop A.J. Grezeszak, Honorable Mention first baseman Brian Buckley, and utilityman Ian McIntosh -- will help ease their new skipper's transition. Powerful youngsters Cossetti and Pogyor, plus athletic junior outfielder Langston Livingston (right) and junior infielder Andrew Ciarlone, will all have an opportunity to make a major impact. Two college-bound pitchers -- RHP James Dougherty (Widener) and LHP Anthony Morabito (Georgetown) -- as well as junior RHP Jerry Mangan, will get the first crack at assuming large roles on the staff.

A trio of experienced juniors -- RHP Shane McGurdy, LHP Anthony Chardio, and RHP Matt Rocchi -- will front the Archbishop Ryan pitching staff this spring. For primary run production, coach Gerry Eck will turn to senior catcher Josh Lopez, junior utilityman Tyler DiMatteo, senior outfielder Shane Smith, and sophomore catcher Matt Romano.

Noah ClementRoman Catholic graduated twelve off its PCL tournament runner-up squad. Misericordia-bound PCL Red 2nd-team third baseman Connor McKenna (.371 AVG, .458 OBP) and senior outfielder Jonathan Stoffere (.351 AVG, .478 OBP) are among few returning starters for an offense that will get a talent infusion from junior infielder Werten Bellamy and a pair of transfer junior infielders in Noah Clement (left) and Greg Grandelli. A quartet of RHP will stake their claim to mound time for coach Anthony Valucci, including sophomores Aidan Welch and Santino Nave', plus Grandelli and McKenna.

Keith FlahertySt. Joseph's Prep welcomes back senior PCL Red 1st-team first baseman Colin Cunningham as the leader of its offense and pitching staff. Coach Joe Falcone will also call on junior RHP Billy Matz, and senior RHPs James McGovern and Andrew Magiera to log innings. Senior infielders Tyler Clark and Jack Henkels, plus junior utilitymen John Coppola and Keith Flaherty (right), should also contribute to the Hawks run production. Flaherty is intriguing on the bump as well, as he recently began experimenting with translating his low-3/4 slot to the mound.

Other schools and returning all-conference selections
Father Judge - senior 1B/P Ryan O'Neill (Red 2nd-team)

Philadelphia Public League

Class A
Since it reclassified to A in 2007, GAMP has represented District XII in the state tournament in six of eight seasons (not to mention earning a AA berth in 2005 & 2006). Ace pitcher Jake Kurtz is now a freshman at Misericordia, but the Pioneers return their other two primary pitchers in senior Dylan Anderson (41.2 IP, 52 H, 23 BB, 45 K) and junior Matt Ventus (23.2 IP, 41 H, 12 BB, 24 K). Both infielders, Anderson (.436 AVG, .508 OBP, 8 BB vs 6 K, 14 SB) and Ventus (.441 AVG, .507 OBP) also power an offense that returns seven of nine starters.

The only other team to represent District XII in the state tournament recently has been defending Public League champ Masterman, which also captured the crown in 2011. The Blue Dragons will be led this spring by senior all-Public League Division A 2nd-team infielder Greg Whitehorn.

Other schools with returning all-conference selections
*Arts Academy of Benjamin Rush (Division C) - senior C Anthony Moore (1st-team)
*Maritime (Division D) - junior C Edwin Rivera & junior P Julio Ramos (1st-team)

Class AA
Before falling to Neumann-Goretti in the District XII championship game and then Springfield Township in the District I/XII sub-regional, Philadelphia Academy captured the Public League crown. Ace pitcher Travis Zink has graduated, but senior PPL Division A 2nd-team outfielder Anthony Pickens returns to spark the offense out of the leadoff spot.

Prep Charter was the last Public League team to advance to the AA state bracket, doing so in 2013. Two senior PPL Division A 2nd-teams selections -- third baseman Joe Suppa and infielder Keegan McKoskey, an Alvernia commit -- return to lead the Huskies offense.

While it would be highly unusual for a team outside of Division A to earn a state berth, Roxborough hopes to do just that. The Indians welcome back virtually their entire pitching staff, led by junior PPL Division B 1st-team RHP Collin Yeager (43.1 IP, 27 H, 24 BB, 80 K), who runs his fastball into the low-80s from a low-3/4 slot. Seniors Randy Krok (38.2 IP, 55 H, 22 BB, 56 K) and Michael Moore (25.2 IP, 36 H, 16 BB, 22 K) also return. The shortstop when he's not on the mound, Yeager (.328 AVG, .458 OBP, 17 BB vs 6 K, 13 SB) and senior 1st-team first baseman Moore (.408 AVG, .535 SLG) will power the offense for coach Kenny Devenney.

MaST Community Charter competes in the Bicentennial Athletic League (all teams from District I) during the regular-season, but participates in the District XII post-season tournament. The co-BAL Presidents Division champs welcome back every pitcher who logged significant innings last spring, led by senior 2nd-team RHP Bryan Kaelin (31 IP, 39 H, 12 BB, 38 K) and senior 1st-team RHP Ryan Conner (46.1 IP, 40 H, 25 BB, 69 K). Sophomore Honorable Mention second baseman Matt Carter (.283 AVG, .413 OBP), who will slide over the shortstop this spring, is also expected to add closer duties to his resume. Including Carter, two-thirds of the Panthers line-up is back, with first baseman Kaelin (.493 AVG, .656 SLG) and junior outfielder Kalen Mundy (.417 AVG, .616 SLG), a 1st-team selection at DH, setting the tone for coach Derek Savage.

Other schools with returning all-conference selections
*Bodine (Division B) - senior P Nick Cammisa (2nd-team)

*Dobbins (Division C) - senior IF/OF Aaron Curry (2nd-team)
*Saul (Division C) - junior P/IF Jeremi Ortiz (2nd-team)
*Science Leadership (Division C) - junior P/C Kevin Courtney (1st-team)

*Tacony (Division D) - senior C Jeremiah Alston (1st-team)

Class AAA

Defending Public League AAA champ Franklin Towne Charter has dominated this classification recently, earning state tournament berths in three of the past four seasons. The Coyotes welcome back their top three pitchers, including senior PPL Division A 1st-team selection Steve Callahan (47 IP, 45 H, 19 BB, 53 K), junior Christian Diaz (39 IP, 34 H, 33 BB, 45K), and sophomore Eric Sanchez (23 IP, 29 H, 11 BB, 18 K). Seven of nine line-up regulars return as well, led by utilityman Callahan (.378 AVG, .580 OBP, 23 BB vs 7 K), sophomore infielder Rob Henry (.389 AVG, .500 OBP, 14 BB vs 8 K), and senior outfielder Phil Gilchrist (.344 AVG, .467 OBP, 11 SB).

Coming off a run as a AA Public League power (state berths in 2009-2012), Nueva Esperanza will now take its shot up a class. Two-thirds of the regular line-up is back, led by senior infielder Johnny Arroyo (.659 AVG, .694 OBP, 5 BB vs 2 K, 12 XBH) and junior catcher Hector Morales (.605 AVG, .660 OBP, 10 XBH). Two of its top three pitchers are gone, but junior Micheal Neaveira-DeLeon (29.1 IP, 42 H, 13 BB, 30 K) and junior Yannuel Vargas (11.1 IP, 14 H, 6 BB, 14 K) should lead the staff.

Other schools with returning all-conference selections
*Boys' Latin (Division B) - senior C Manny Fernandez (1st-team), senior P Asa James (2nd-team)
*Carver E&S (Division B) - sophomore C Jelani Wheeler (2nd-team)
*Mastbaum (Division B) - sophomore P Daniel Martinez (1st-team)
*Swenson (Division B) - senior IF Brian Nieves (1st-team), senior IF David Fred (2nd-team)

*Franklin Learning Center (Division C) - sophomore C/OF Isaias Palomares & junior P/IF Joe Pagan (1st-team), sophomore P/IF Briant Loya (2nd-team)

*School of the Future (Division D) - junior P Anthony Morel (1st-team)

Class AAAA
Sophomore PPL Division A 2nd-team LHP Danny Holdsman (38.1 IP, 36 H, 17 BB, 41 K) and junior RHP Kyle Rosenberg (15 IP, 19 H, 11 BB, 21 K) will be joined by junior RHP Sam Greene atop the pitching staff for Central, which looks to get back to the state tournament for the first time since back-to-back trips in 2009-2010). Coach Rich Weiss has a solid offensive core returning as well, led by senior outfielder Tyler Barreto (.392 AVG, .588 SLG, 10 SB), third baseman Rosenberg (.458 AVG, .541 OBP, .645 SLG, 14 SB), junior catcher Dan Feyler (.340 AVG), and Holdsman (.463 AVG, .508 OBP).

Virtually the entire roster returns for Frankford, which had its string of three straight state tournament berths snapped last year. A strong junior class does the bulk of the damage for the Pioneers, led by PPL DIvision A 1st-team infielder Xavier Sanchez, sweet-swinging 1st-team first baseman Edgardo Bernard, and 2nd-team outfielder Weslly Delgado.

Other schools with returning all-conference selections
*Lincoln (Division A) - junior C Nick Houser (2nd-team)
*Washington (Division A) - senior 1B Ishmael Bracy (2nd-team)

*Furness (Division B) - senior IF Marshall Drummond (2nd-team)
*Kensington (Division B) - senior IF Jeison Morillo (1st-team), junior OF Raphael Martinez (2nd-team)
*Olney (Division B) - junior OF George Belliard & junior IF Alex Blanco (2nd-team)
*Overbrook (Division B) - senior OF Reggie Winston (1st-team)

*Bartram (Division C) - junior IF Juan Santana (1st-team) 
*King (Division C) - senior P/SS Isaiah Gregory (1st-team), senior IF Demetrius Smith (2nd-team)
*Southern (Division C) - junior P/IF Pedro Reyes & senior IF Dave Russino (1st-team), senior IF Destouet Smith (2nd-team)

Season Preview Schedule

2/27 - PAISAA
2/27 - District V
2/28 - District IX
3/1 - District VI
3/2 - District IV
3/3 - District X
3/4 - District III (Class A & AA)
3/5 - District VII (Class A)
3/6 - District VII (Class AA)
3/7 - District II
3/8 - District XI
3/9 - District I (Class A, AA, AAA)
3/10 - District III (Class AAA)
3/11 - District VII (Class AAA)
3/12 - District I (Class AAAA)
3/13 - District III (Class AAAA)
3/14 - District VII (Class AAAA)
3/15 - District XII